Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend we have a confluence of different things. On the one hand, we our honored to have the Vocation Director of the Diocese of Trenton visiting us, Fr. Chris Colavito. He’ll be speaking at all the Masses about vocations and encouraging young men to consider the gift of the priesthood in their lives. On the other hand, the second Sunday in May is when we celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States. While there may seem to be a distinct difference between each of these things, there is also an underlying connection between them.

Years ago at a talk I attended, the speaker said roughly the following, “Good families make good priests. And good priests help to strengthen good families.” There’s a temptation at times, particularly when we consider religious vocations, either to the priesthood or consecrated life, that such things exist in a vacuum outside of family life. We want to think of them as being separate and very much their own thing. Now, with vows and promises of celibacy, it’s not hard to see where that kind of thinking may originate. But the reality is, the Church is a cohesive whole and no vocation or way of life stands alone in the way we experience it.

It’s right to say that good families make good priests. The family is the smallest unit of the Church and it’s in that domestic church of the family that faith formation happens most intensely. If we want to have good, holy priests, then it makes sense that we should be interested in building up and strengthening the families that those future priests will be coming from. The role of parents, especially that of mothers, is paramount in helping children to know and live the faith in the daily lives and eventually for themselves as adults.

The life and ministry of a parish priest is very much family oriented. Pastors are often with families in the most significant moments; the passing of a loved one, the baptizing of a young child, the joining of young people in the Sacrament of Matrimony. As such, good priests help to build up the faith experience of those engaged in family life, and at all stages of it. Every priest wants to strengthen the families within their parish.

Now, there are plenty of good priests from imperfect families. And imperfect priests can help good families. But the more we can recognize that priests, religious sisters, fathers, mothers, and all states of life can benefit from each other and help each other, the greater chance there is for living these vocations well. And one way we can all aid each other is to remember to pray. Let us pray that young men and women have the courage to answer God’s calling in their lives. Let us pray also in a special way this week for all mothers. May all of us live faithfully the vocation God has given us!

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan